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home page -->Confucian culture

 Sage demeanor: Zheng Xuan, a Confucian master in the late Eastern Han Dynasty

   date:2020-09-18 19:07:01     read:38   

In China, to study the Four Books and Five Classics, we must study Zheng Xuan, who is a bright pearl and a great peak in the history of Chinese classics----------- Zhuge Changqing

Zheng Xuan, a master of Confucian classics at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, paid attention to Confucian classics and devoted his life to sorting out ancient cultural heritage, thus bringing Confucian classics into a "small unified era". His comments on Confucian classics have long been used as official textbooks by feudal rulers, and have been included in the commentaries of the Nine Classics and the Thirteen Classics, making a significant contribution to the spread of Confucian culture and even the whole Chinese culture. Now, let's take a closer look at the charming demeanor and outstanding achievements of this Confucian master.

1、 Zheng Xuan's Life Story

1. Family background and childhood

Zheng Xuan, whose name is Kang Cheng, was born in Gaomi (now Gaomi County, Shandong Province), Beihai.

He was born in the second year of Yongjian (127th) of Emperor Shun of the Eastern Han Dynasty and died in the fifth year of Jian'an (200th) of Emperor Xian of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Zheng Xuan's family background was originally prominent. His forefather was named Zheng State, whose name was Zi Tu. He was a disciple of Confucius. His later generations were granted the title of Qu (qu qu qu) Mountain Marquis. Zheng Chong, the eighth ancestor of Zheng Xuan, has the word "You". As a Gaomi ethnic group, when Emperor Ai was in the Western Han Dynasty, the official was the minister and the minister. There is a legend in the Book of Han Dynasty. Zheng Chong was upright and upright. He was trusted and valued by Emperor Ai. He often struggled with eunuchs and lucky ministers, such as Dong Xian. Later, the sycophants framed him and died in prison.

By the time Zheng Xuan was born, the Zheng family had fallen. His grandfather, Zheng Ming, and his father, Zheng Jin, had not become an official. They only worked in the countryside, and their family life was relatively poor. Zheng Xuan has no talent and intelligence since childhood. He likes reading and is diligent. He learned the number of books from an early age, and was proficient in the arithmetic of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division when he was eight or nine years old. Not only did ordinary adults fail to catch up with him, but even those who did not study the number of books could not catch up with him. At the age of twelve or thirteen, he can recite and tell the "Five Classics" of Confucianism, such as "Poetry", "Book", "Yi", "Book of Rites" and "Spring and Autumn". At the same time, he also likes to study astronomy, and has mastered some magic tricks, such as "Zhan Feng", "Feng Jiao", "Yin Shu", to predict good or bad luck based on the changes of weather and wind direction.

Zheng Xuan has been devoted to learning since he was a teenager, and has established his ambition to learn the classics. He indulges in books all day long. He is not vain and pragmatic by nature. There is a small thing that can explain this problem. When he was eleven or twelve years old, he accompanied his mother to visit his grandfather's house. At that time, there were many guests, and more than ten guests were dressed in gorgeous clothes, dressed up in a new way. Each of them spoke clearly and boasted, which seemed very important and dignified. Only Zheng Xuan sat quietly aside, as if his identity and talent were not up to others. When his mother saw this, she felt that his face was dark, so she secretly urged him to show up, show some talent, and show some generosity and air. Zheng Xuan, however, disagreed, saying that these vulgar scenes were "not what I wanted, not what I wanted" (see "Xuan Bie Zhuan" in Volume 215 of "Taiping Guangji" for citation).

At the age of 16, Zheng Xuan was not only proficient in Confucian classics and ancient classics, but also in divination and alchemy. He was also able to write good articles and was widely known in the local area. He was known as a child prodigy. At that time, the rulers of the imperial court believed in the theory of disaster and fortune, and regarded all kinds of natural disasters as punishment and warning from heaven; Some rare phenomena in nature, such as the emergence of rare birds and animals, are regarded as the reward of heaven for people and the appreciation of "political purity". In order to prove that the ruler's behavior was in line with the will of God, the court encouraged the local government to report the "Fu Rui" level by level, in order to deify and glorify the feudal rule and paralyze the people. At that time, however, the administration of officials was so bad that most of the state and county officials were speechless, and it was difficult to write like this. In this year, some folk people offered auspicious gifts. Two different seedlings grew together to produce a melon, called "Jiagua"; A branch of rice bears two ears, which is called "Jiahe". In order to please the superior, the county wrote the situation of "Fu Rui" into an official document and submitted it with eulogies. However, the officials were despicable and penniless, so they could not write anything, so they had to ask the prodigy Zheng Xuanlai to rewrite it. Zheng Xuan wrote the official document and two eulogies, which were highly appreciated by the county officials. The prefect thought that Zheng Xuan was a rare talent, worthy of the name of prodigy, and later presided over the coronation ceremony for him personally (the coronation ceremony held when the man was 20 years old to show his maturity).

Zheng Xuan also had a lot of experience in the study of numerology and became famous very early. According to the "Xuanbiezhuan", when Zheng Xuan was 17 years old, he was reading at home one day when he saw a strong wind blowing. He predicted that there would be a fire on a certain day, at a certain time and at a certain place according to some magic tricks he mastered. So he immediately went to the county government to report and let the government prepare early. At a certain time on a certain day, there was a fire in a certain place, but due to the early preparation, it did not cause serious damage. Zheng Xuan was regarded as a "stranger" by the local people.

2. Not happy to learn from history

With the growth of knowledge and learning, Zheng Xuan entered his youth. Although he is determined to devote himself to the study of Confucian classics, and has acquired certain achievements in Confucian classics, due to his poor family and poor life, he has no condition to continue to study specially. His parents and brothers are forced by livelihood problems, and they are not allowed to study for a long time without industry. At the age of 18, he had to become an official and assume the position of a country miser. In the Han Dynasty, the local government implemented a two-tier system of county and county. Under the county, there were townships, pavilions, li, shi, wu, and so on. Generally, five households were divided into five groups. The village miser is a local petty official at the township level, who is in charge of litigation, taxation and other matters. For the work in his charge, Zheng Xuanqin was diligent, earnest, and compassionate. He was highly praised by the village. Soon he was promoted to become a village assistant, about equivalent to the position of deputy village head.

Although his superiors valued him and his fellow villagers supported him, Zheng Xuan was not satisfied with the work of the township officials, and was unwilling to make a living for them, but longed for academic research. Therefore, while working as a township official, he also took advantage of all available opportunities to study hard. He did not go home on holidays, but went to school to ask his teacher about various academic issues. His father was extremely opposed to this, and repeatedly criticized and reprimanded him. However, the opposition of his father and brother could not change his ambition. He still persevered in his study. By the age of 21, he had read a lot of books, had a profound knowledge of the classics, and was proficient in the study of numeration, figure and latitude, and was also proficient in arithmetic. He became a young scholar full of talent.

At that time, there was a famous man named Du Mi, who was as famous as Li Du, the "world famous man" who boldly opposed the eunuch. Du Mi was promoted to the position of Taishan Supreme Guard and Beihai Prime Minister. When he visited Gaomi County, he saw Zheng Xuan. He thought he was a rare talent, so he was promoted to the county as an official, so that he could learn and further study. From then on, Zheng Xuan ended his career as a township official. Shortly after arriving at Beihai County, Zheng Xuan resigned from his position as an official and entered Imperial College. His teacher's name was No. 5 Yuanxian (No. 5 is Fuxing), who was the surname of Jingzhao Pingling (now Chang'an, Shaanxi Province) at that time. He was once the governor of Yanzhou and was a very knowledgeable doctor of classics. Zheng Xuan learned the Book of Changes of the Jing Family, the Spring and Autumn Annals of the Gongyang, the Santong Calendar, and the Nine Chapters of Arithmetic, all of which reached the level of proficiency. Among them, the "Jing Shi Yi" was written by Jingfang in the Western Han Dynasty, and the "Gongyang Spring and Autumn" was written by Gongyang Gao in the Warring States Period, and was written at the beginning of the Western Han Dynasty. Both of these two books are important classics of modern classics. The Santong Calendar was written by Liu Xin in the Western Han Dynasty, and the Jiuzhang Arithmetic is said to have been written by the Duke of Zhou in the Western Zhou Dynasty. Both of these books are important works in the study of calendars.

In the next 10 years or so, it was the time of Zheng Xuan's eclectic study.

He learned from Zhang Gongzu, Dongjun, such books as "Zhou Guan", "Book of Rites", "Zuo's Spring and Autumn Annals", "Han Shi", "Ancient Wen Shang Shu" and so on. Except for "Book of Rites" and "Han Shi", they are all important classics of ancient Chinese classics. Zheng Xuan learned the important classics of the two schools of modern and ancient literary classics from the fifth Yuanxian and Zhang Gongzu, but was not satisfied with it. He also learned the Law from Chen Qiu. During this period, he also traveled to the places of You, He, Yan, and Yu (equivalent to Shandong, Hebei, and Henan today) for the purpose of studying the classics of the Ming Dynasty and expressing integrity. He visited famous Confucian scholars all over the world, benefited many teachers, learned from them modestly, and discussed academic issues together. Reading thousands of books, traveling thousands of miles, working tirelessly and assiduously, Zheng Xuan's youth passed in such a hurry and fullness. In his thirties, Zheng Xuan had become a Confucian scholar with profound attainments. His knowledge is second to none in Shandong (east of the mountain, now in Henan, Hebei and Shandong).

3. In his prime, he went to the country to study in Guanxi

Although Zheng Xuan has been rich in learning, he is not satisfied with it. There is no end to learning. The more he learns, the more he feels that knowledge is not enough. When he felt that there were no more scholars in Guandong (the east of Hangu Pass) who could ask for advice, he left his hometown through the relationship of his friend Lu Zhi and went all the way west to Guanzhong to learn from Fufeng Ma Rong. This year, Zheng Xuan was 33 years old. Ma Rong, a native of Fufeng Maoling (now Xingping, Shaanxi Province), was the most famous master of Confucian classics in China at that time, with profound knowledge. His extensive attention to Confucian classics has brought the study of ancient Chinese classics to a mature stage. There are thousands of his disciples, more than 400 of whom have followed him for years, and more than 50 of them are excellent.

He is arrogant and fastidious. Although there are many disciples, he only teaches a few top students in person, and the rest of the students are taught by these top students. After Zheng Xuan joined the school, he was not valued by Ma Rong for three years, and he didn't even see his face. He could only listen to his senior disciples. However, Zheng Xuan did not relax his study because of this. He still searched for recitation day and night, and was not tired. Once, Ma Rong and some of his high-ranking disciples worked together to solve the problem of Huntian (an ancient astronomy). They encountered difficulties and could not solve themselves. Some people said Zheng Xuan was good at mathematics, so they called him to meet him. Zheng it solved the problem perfectly on the spot, which surprised Ma Rong and the disciples present. Ma Rong said to Lu Zhi, "You and I are not as good as him.

Zheng Xuan studied under Ma Rong for seven years. Because his parents were old and needed to return home, he said goodbye to Ma Rong and returned to his hometown in Shandong. At this time, Ma Rong felt that Zheng Xuan was a great talent, and would even surpass himself. He said to his disciples with deep emotion, "Zheng Sheng is gone now, and my way is east!" It means that the Confucian academic thought inherited by him will certainly be spread in the east of Guandong because of the spread of Zheng Xuan.

4. The scourge of the party's imprisonment and the practice of reclusive sutras

After learning from Ma Rong and returning to his hometown, Zheng Xuan was over 40 years old. At that time, he had become a famous master of ancient Chinese classics in the country, and he knew nothing about all schools of learning. So hundreds of thousands of people from far and near threw themselves under his door, worshipped him as a teacher and listened to him. At that time, his family was still very poor, so he "ploughed Donglai" and taught his disciples while farming to make a living. Donglai is located at the foot of the south mountain of Buqi City in the southeast of Jimo County, Shandong Province. The environment is very beautiful. There is an inexhaustible ancient well on the mountain. There is a kind of thin and long grass growing near the well. It is as long as a foot long as an allium, and it is very flexible. It was called Shudai Grass at that time, also known as Kangcheng Shudai. Zheng Xuan and his disciples lived in seclusion here, living a poor and peaceful life.

Originally, the learned and famous Confucian classics teacher like Zheng Xuan would be recommended or recruited into the court as an official, and he himself never intended to. But who knew that at this time, there was a "disaster of party imprisonment".

The disaster of Danggu was the result of the long-term struggle between the eunuchs and the relatives of the ruling class in the late Eastern Han Dynasty.

The foreign relatives were in power, that is, killing and dismissing a large number of eunuchs, and promoting and reusing their comrades; On the contrary, if the eunuch is in power, he will kill the foreign relatives, recall and suppress the foreign parties.

During the reign of Emperor Huan, a group of relatively upright aristocratic families and feudal bureaucrats from "celebrities" united more than 30000 college students to oppose the eunuch group. The eunuch controlled Emperor Huan and fabricated a crime to fight back. Emperor Huan ordered the arrest of more than 200 people, including Li Ying, Chen Shi and Du Mi, and offered a reward for the fugitives. This is the first "disaster of party imprisonment" that occurred in the ninth year of Yanxi (166).

Later, with the support of the foreign relatives group, Emperor Huan ordered the amnesty of 200 people including Li Ying. Before long, the foreign relatives and the party members joined forces to plan to kill the eunuch. After revealing the secret, the eunuch took the lead and conspired to frame him up. More than 200 people, including Li Ying and Du Mi, were put to prison and executed. Later, "Party members" were arrested in succession throughout the country. In the first year of Emperor Ling's Jianning (168), he issued an edict to all counties and counties to investigate the party members. All "party members" and their students, deceased officials, fathers and sons, and brothers who now occupy official positions will be removed from office and imprisoned, which is the so-called disaster of the second party imprisonment. The so-called "party imprisonment" means that the party members should be regarded as party members and be imprisoned. They should never be allowed to be officials. Zheng Xuan was an old official of Du Mi, and was also appreciated and promoted by Du Mi, so he was also regarded as a party member. In the fourth year of Jianning (171), more than 40 people, including Sun Song of the same county, were imprisoned.

This year, Zheng Xuan was only 45 years old.

After Zheng Xuan was imprisoned, he cut off his career path, so that Du could not leave his home, and concealed his practice of scriptures. He concentrated all his energy on the work of paying attention to group scriptures. The main achievements of Zheng Xue were all completed during this period. Confucian classics in the Han Dynasty can be divided into modern and ancient texts. After Qin Shihuang burned the books, some old Confucian scholars in the Han Dynasty recited some scriptures from memory, recorded and sorted them out in the then prevailing language (official script, namely, modern text), called "modern text classics".

In the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Xiang and Liu Xin, their father and son, and their school secretaries, discovered a "Spring and Autumn Zuo's Biography" written in ancient Zhou, together with the "Yili" and "Ancient Book of History" obtained by Kong Bi, and the "Mao Poem", which was not yet an official at that time, which became the main classic of the ancient classics. Those who study the modern classics are called the modern school, and those who study the ancient classics are called the ancient school.

Modern and ancient texts are not only different, but more importantly, their interpretations and viewpoints are quite different. Each of the two schools annotated the scriptures and lectured according to its own point of view, and gradually became incompatible with each other, and developed into mutual accusations, debates and enemies. Later, the ancient scriptures were also established as academic officials and gained legal status. The struggle between the two factions became more frequent and intense. By the Eastern Han Dynasty, modern and ancient literary classics were parallel, and the influence of the ancient literary school was rapidly expanding. Zheng Xuan's entry into the field of Confucian classics is precisely under the situation of fierce struggle between modern and ancient literary schools.

In essence, the mutual attack of the ancient school of literary classics has no progressive significance, although both schools have their own strengths. Classics emphasizes "teaching" and "family law": strictly abide by the precepts of the classics and teachers, which is called teaching; Different students from the same teacher also have their own families. Therefore, family law should be taught under the teacher's law. Only under the premise of following the teacher's law can they become a family. Therefore, the teacher's law is traced back to the origin, and the family law is the extension and development of the teacher's theory. Such "lack of attention without breaking the notes" and overlapping the bed and frame the house, resulting in a number of schools, one of which has a number of statements, each with a set of errors, so that later scholars do not know what to follow. Complication, fragmentation and dogma have become the prominent drawbacks of Confucian classics. Zheng Xuanqi first studied the "Jing Shi Yi" and "Gongyang Spring and Autumn" from the fifth yuan, which belongs to the school of modern classics. Later, he studied "Zhou Guan", "Zuo's Spring and Autumn Annals" and "Ancient Wen Shang Shu" with Zhang Gongzu, which belongs to the school of ancient Wen Jing.

   It is evident that he did not adhere to one teacher's statement and respect the words of one family, but learned from many teachers and incorporated them. He studied for many years under Ma Rong, a master of ancient scriptures, and in general, he was inclined to the side of ancient scriptures. However, Zheng Xuan did not abide by the method of the scriptures at that time, but used his own profound knowledge to annotate the ancient scriptures, not only the interpretation of ancient scribes, but also the interpretation of many individual scribes. In other words, he took the ancient text as the main text, and adopted the modern text as well, choosing the best.

   During the 14 years of his confinement, Zheng Xuan wrote all the scriptures. After the emergence of Zheng Xuan's commentary, the present-day scriptures and the ancient scriptures, each of which had its own way of doing things, gradually ceased to be believed. At that time, he not only gathered the great achievements of ancient scriptures, but also made the ancient and modern scriptures into one, and created a new school, Zheng Xue.

   People turned to admire Zheng's school, and it gradually became the Confucianism of the world. For example, Zheng Xuan's ancient scripture, Fei's Yi, became popular, while the present scripture, Shi, Meng and Liang Qiu's Yi, was abolished; Zheng's ancient scripture, Shangshu, became popular, while the present scripture, Ouyang and Xiahou's Shangshu, was lost; Zheng Xuan's ancient scripture, Mao's poem, was annotated, while the present scripture, Qi, Lu and Han's poem, was not obvious. The emergence of Zheng made an important change in the development of scripture, and it brought it into an "era of unification" (Pi Xirui, in History of Scripture).

   There is another incident worth mentioning in this period.

   A famous master of modern scripture named He Ti spent 17 years writing a book called Gong Yang Chun Qiu Xie Xue (Interpretation of the Gong Yang Spring and Autumn Annals), in which he made many inventions on the contents of the book of Gong Yang. From his essays "Gongshang Mo Shou", "Zuo Shi Anointing Blindness" and "Gu Liang Abolishing Disease", it can be seen that he thought that among the three biographies of the Spring and Autumn Annals, only the Gongshang was profound in its righteousness and as impeccable as Mo Zi's city defense. The two biographies of Zuo and Gu Liang, on the other hand, have serious shortcomings and are not worth studying at all.


In response to his views, Zheng Xuan wrote "Fa Mo Shou", "Needle of the Sick", and "Qi Ru Shi" to refute them. He believed that each of the three biographies had its own strengths and weaknesses, and that the Gong Yang was not perfect. When He Ti read Zheng Xuan's essay, he also said with a sigh of admiration, "Kang Cheng entered my room and manipulated my spear to attack me!" It means that Zheng Xuan was able to find contradictions in his essay and refute his standpoint with his self-contradictory statements. Since Zheng Xuan's refutation of He Ti was very powerful, it convinced the scribes and scholars greatly. It is said that people in the capital at that time called He Huo "the sea of learning" and Zheng Xuan "the god of scripture", and Zheng's reputation far exceeded He's. At that time, scholars came from all over the world to visit Zheng Xuan. At that time, many scholars came from thousands of miles to Zheng Xuan's tutelage, and his disciples were all over the world.

   In short, Zheng Xuan was imprisoned at the age of 45 and was only pardoned at the age of 58 (the first year of Emperor Ling Ping, 184 AD), a period of 14 years. During this period, he broke the family law of scripture, wrote and annotated "more than a million words", and founded Zheng Studies, making an outstanding contribution to the history of Chinese scripture.

    5、Shunning and teaching in seclusion

   After the outbreak of the Yellow Turban Peasant Revolt, the Eastern Han Dynasty granted amnesty to the party members in order to quell the internal strife of the landowning class and to suppress the peasant revolt in unison. Zheng Xuan had traveled for more than ten years to study all over the world, and even the great scribe Ma Rong sighed at himself, and became a famous master of scriptures in the country. With his abundant writings and many disciples, he had a great reputation at that time. After the party ban was lifted, the rulers of the imperial court had already heard of Zheng Xuan's great reputation, so they scrambled to hire him for important positions. However, Zheng Xuan sought fame but not officialdom, and was ashamed to be associated with foreign relatives in closed temples, and never wanted to get involved in the career. In the second year of Emperor Ling's reign (185), He Jin, a foreign general who was in charge of the court, first recruited Zheng Xuan as an official in order to enlist the people. He had no choice but to enter the court to meet with He Jin, as the officials of the state and county coerced him to start the line. In order to show his courtesy to the virtuous, He Jin treated Zheng Xuan with respect and set up a couple of staffs to treat him. Zheng Xuan refused to wear the eyes of the court, and only wore the ordinary clothes of a Confucian to meet with He Jin in order to protect his moral integrity. He fled after one night, before he was granted an official position.

   In the fourth year of Emperor Ling's reign (187), Zheng Xuan was recruited twice by the Three Secretaries, but he politely declined on the pretext. In the next year, Zheng Xuan was recruited as a doctor along with Xun Shuang, Shen Tu Ban, Xiang Kai, Han Rong, Chen Ji and 14 others, but he did not go because of his father's mourning. The latter general Yuan Kui offered Zheng Xuan the position of a retainer, but he still refused to serve on the grounds of mourning.

  In the sixth year of Zhongping (189), Emperor Ling died and Liu Fang, the young emperor, succeeded to the throne, and soon Dong Zhuo abolished the young emperor and installed Emperor Xian and moved the capital to Chang'an. At this time, the public ministers raised Zheng Xuan to be the minister of Zhao Wang Qian, but he was not called due to the war and the roads were impassable. Zheng Xuan refused repeatedly to be recruited, and during this time, except for Xuzhou, where he avoided the turmoil, he mostly lived in seclusion in his hometown, gathering disciples to teach, concentrating on scriptures and writing books. His disciples were all over the world, and many people came from far away to join him, such as Zhao Shang, Cui Yan, Gong Sun Fang, Wang Ji, Guoyuan, Xi Si, etc. He was famous among them. His students often exceeded a thousand, which was a great success at that time.

   In the second year of Emperor Xian's reign (197), Yuan Shao became the great general and supervised the four states of Ji, Qing, You and Bing, which was the largest secessionist power in northern China. Once he gave a banquet to his guests, and Zheng Xuan was invited to attend the banquet. He answered the questions of some so-called "magnificent juns" one by one at the banquet, and his words surprised all the guests. Yuan Shao then raised Zheng Xuan as a mao cai and invited him to be the left middle general, but Zheng Xuan was not moved by it and declined one by one.

   In the third year of Emperor Xian's reign (198), Emperor Xian recruited Zheng Xuan to be the Grand Secretary of Agriculture, a high official ranked among the Nine Ministers, and was given a carriage to welcome him by the chief officials of all the counties he passed. After receiving it at home, Zheng Xuan took the chariot to Xuchang, but immediately asked to return to his hometown on the pretext that he was sick. Although he did not take up his post, he had already accepted this order, so the world called him Zheng Sinong.

   In total, Zheng Xuan was rejected 14 times after he was released from the ban. He also did not take up the post. Under the dark social conditions of the late Han Dynasty, Zheng Xuan intended to keep his noble scholarly integrity and refused to associate with those relatives, eunuchs and fictitious eminent scholars whom he despised, but concentrated on his academic talents. He is worthy of being a true scholar.

   6. Displaced life in his later years

   Zheng Xuan was not conscripted and initially led his students to live in seclusion in the mountains south of Buqi City, where he conducted scripture commentary and lecturing activities. Due to the Yellow Turban Uprising, the world was in turmoil, and later on, the food was cut off and he could not sustain himself anymore, so he and his students cried and parted to go their separate ways.

   In the second year of Emperor Xian's Chuping (191), the Yellow Turban Army captured Qingzhou, and Zheng Xuan could not stay in Gaomi anymore, so he fled to Xuzhou to avoid the chaos. Tao Qian, the pastor of Xuzhou, had defeated the Yellow Turban Army and the territory was relatively stable. When he heard of Zheng Xuan's arrival, he welcomed him with the courtesy of a teacher and friend. Zheng Xuan settled himself in a stone house under the Qizhi Rock in the south of the city and seldom showed his face, still studying the Confucian classics and commenting on the Book of Filial Piety night and day.

   Zheng Xuan lived in Xuzhou for five or six years. At that time, Kong Rong was the minister of Beihai and had special respect for Zheng Xuan, so he repaired the courtyard of Zheng Xuan's former residence and sent people to invite Zheng Xuan back to the county. In the first year of Jian'an (196), Zheng Xuan returned to Gaomi from Xuzhou. According to the original biography of the Book of Later Han, Zheng Xuan met a large number of Yellow Turban Army on his way back to Gaomi, but they were very respectful to Zheng Xuan: "They all worshiped when they saw Xuan and did not dare to enter the county". It is recorded in history that the Yellow Turban Army respected scholars, and Zheng Xuan was a real famous scholar who did not move in the ups and downs, and that is why he could gain the respect of the Yellow Turban Army. According to "The Chronicle of the Later Han Dynasty - The Chronicle of Xian", Gaomi, a county, was not even raided and plundered by the Yellow Turban, and Zheng Xuan protected the township with his personality and fame.


  When he returned to Gaomi, Kong Rong treated him very well and told his staff to call him Zheng Jun and not to call him by his first name. In this way, Zheng Xuan ended his exile at the age of 70, and he spent his days studying the classics, studying the six arts, and often looking at the secretarial arts. But in this year, he was tragically changed, and suffered the pain of losing his son in old age. He had only one son, named Yi En, who was elected by Kong Rong, the minister of Beihai, as a filial integrity at the age of 23.

   In the spring and summer of this year, Yuan Tan, the son of Yuan Shao, led the Yellow Turban surrendered troops to attack Beihai and surrounded Kong Rong in Duchang (now Changyi, Shandong), and the situation was very urgent. I endured his father's order to lead his family soldiers to rescue him, but he was surrounded and killed at the age of 27. After Yi En's death, he had a surviving son, whom Zheng Xuan named Xiaotong because his handwriting was similar to his own. In 200, Zheng Xuan was already 74 years old, and he had been through a lot of hardships, so he often felt unwell. In the spring of that year, he dreamed that Confucius said to him, "Qi, Qi, this year's year is in Chen, and the next year's year is in Ba." (The Book of Later Han, this biography) This year is the lunar calendar year Geng Chen, the year of the dragon, the coming year is Xin Si year, that is, the year of the snake, the old saying that the year of the dragon and snake is not good for the sage. So he woke up very unhappy, when he thought he would soon die. That year, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao's army in Guandu (now Zhongmou County, Henan Province, east) will fight. Yuan Shao asked Yuan Tan to force Zheng Xuan to accompany his army in order to strengthen his power and win the hearts of the people and morale. When he arrived at Yuancheng (present-day Dame County, Hebei), his illness worsened and he could not go any further, so he died in June of the same year. He died in June of the same year. When he was seriously ill and at the end of his life, he was still commenting on the Zhou Yi.

   At the time of his death, Zheng Xuan was in the midst of a great war, so the funeral was simple, but more than a thousand people from the county sheriff and his disciples were buried in mourning. He was initially buried in the east of the city (in the territory of Yidu, Shandong Province), but later he was buried in Lefu, under Liuzong Mountain, 50 miles northwest of Gaomi County. There are still tombstones and a shrine of Zheng Xuan from the Tang Dynasty, and not far from here is the "Zheng Gongxiang" where Confucius set up a memorial for him.

  The students of Zheng Xuan admired the teacher so much that in order to commemorate his teachings, they edited the "Analects" like the disciples of Confucius edited the "Analects" to commemorate Confucius, and also edited the usual quiz of Zheng Xuan and his disciples on the Five Classics into "Zheng Zhi", which has 8 articles. In summary, Zheng Xuan's life was a life of dedication and devotion to scholarship and education, a life of dedication and devotion to the ancient cultural heritage.

Zheng Xuan's Academic Achievements

  During the two Han dynasties, scripture was the most prosperous in China. In the Western Han Dynasty, the present-day scriptures were prevalent, and the five scriptures and fourteen doctors who were established in the school officials at that time were all present-day scriptures. At the end of the Western Han Dynasty, ancient scriptures gradually emerged, while the Eastern Han Dynasty was the period when ancient scriptures emerged and fought until they surpassed modern scriptures. Zheng Xuan made his living from ancient scriptures, and took the longest of modern scriptures and merged them into one, thus forming Zheng Studies. The prevalence of Zheng Studies was an epoch-making event in the history of scriptures.

   Zheng Xuan devoted his life to exegete the Confucian classics. The Book of Later Han - Zheng Xuan's Biography says: "All Xuan's commentaries on Zhou Yi, Shang Shu, Mao Shi, Yi Li, Li Ji, Analects, and Xiao Jing ...... are more than one million words. As a matter of fact, Zheng Xuan's commentary on all the scriptures is much more than that, and only the main parts are listed here. According to the testimony of Zheng Zhen, a Confucian scholar, Zheng Xuan's writings are about 60 in total. Zheng Xuan said in his "Book of Preceptorship" that he devoted himself to scriptures in order to "describe the mysterious meaning of the former sages and think about the unevenness of a hundred schools of thought". That is to say, his aim was to elaborate Confucianism and make it flourish. Historically speaking, Zheng Xuan's achievement in annotating the scriptures was quite high, and he fulfilled his wish.

   The present biography of the Book of Later Han summarizes Zheng Xuan's achievements in scripture, saying, "Zheng Xuan encompassed the canon, collected all the sayings, cut down the complexity, published the omissions, and chose the good, and since the scholars knew a little about what to return to." This evaluation is in line with reality. Zheng Xuan's greatest achievement was to edit and annotate the "Three Rites". Although the name of "Three Rites" was proposed by Ma Rong and Lu Zhi, it was established only after Zheng Xuan made notes for Zhou Rites, Yi Rites and Li Ji respectively.

   The 49 books of the Book of Rites were also written independently by Zheng Xuan.

   The "Three Rites" are the source of ancient Chinese rules and regulations, and are valuable historical documents, but many of them are difficult to understand directly from the original texts, so Zheng's notes are indispensable.

   Zheng's commentaries are indispensable in helping us to understand the content of the Three Rites and in correcting the errors of the scriptures. In addition, Zheng Xuan's interpretation of the scriptures enriched the literature by adding many materials outside the scriptures. These materials must have been available in the literature or teachers' sayings at that time, but nowadays most of them have been lost, and some of them have been preserved thanks to Zheng's commentary, which is also a great merit of Zheng's commentary.

Namo Shakyamuni Buddha, the original teacher.

      Namo Amitabha Buddha. Namo Amitabha Buddha. Namo Amitabha Buddha.

Fusheng Wuqiantianzong. Confucius. Jesus. Muhammad.

All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions.

All the gods and immortals in the three worlds and ten directions.

All the saints and sages in the past and present.

    Do not do any evil, and practice all good deeds. Be persistent and answer all requests.

Zhuge Changqing wishes all those who are filial to their parents and do good deeds all over the world prosperity and good fortune!




                      ----------- 诸葛长青

   生于东汉顺帝永建二年(12 7年),卒于东汉献帝建安五年(200年)。郑玄的家世本来比较显赫。其远祖名叫郑国,字子徒,是孔子的弟子,其后世封为朐(qu渠)山侯。郑玄的八世祖郑崇,字子游。为高密大族,西汉哀帝时官至尚书仆射,《汉书》中有传。郑崇为人刚直不阿,很受哀帝的信任和重用,常与宦官、幸臣董贤等作斗争,后来佞臣诬陷,惨死狱中。
   到了郑玄出生时,郑氏家族已经败落了,他的祖父郑明、父亲郑谨,都没有出仕,只在乡间务农,家中生活也比较贫寒。郑玄自幼无资聪颖,又性喜读书,勤奋好学。他从小学习书数之学,到八九岁时就精通加减乘除的算术,不但一般的大人比不过他,即便是读书人,不专门学习书数者也赶不上他。到了十二三岁,他就能诵读和讲述《诗》、《书》、《易》、《礼记》、《春秋》这儒家“五经”了。同时,他还喜欢钻研天文学,并掌握了 “占候”、“风角”、“隐术”等一些以气象、风向的变化而推测吉凶的方术。
   郑玄自少年时就一心向学,确立了学习经学的志向,终日沉湎于书卷中,孜孜以求。他不尚虚荣,天性务实,有一件小事很能说明这个问题。十一二岁的时候,他曾随母亲到外祖家做客,当时客人很多,在座的十多位客人都衣着华美,打扮得焕然一新,一个个言语清爽,夸夸其谈,显得很有地位和派头。唯独郑玄默默地坐在一旁,似乎身份和才学都赶不上人家。其母见状,感到面上无光,便暗地督促他出头露面,显露点才华,表现点阔绰和神气。郑玄却不以为然,说这些庸俗的场面 “非我所志,不在所愿也”(引文见《太平广记》卷215引《玄别传》)。
   2、不乐为史 折节向学
  当时有一位名士名叫杜密,和大胆反对宦官的“天下名士”李膺齐名,并称为 “李杜”。杜密升任太山太守、北海相,到高密县巡视时见到郑玄,认为他是一个不可多得的人才,就把他升调到郡里为吏录,使他得到学习和深造的机会。从此,郑玄便结束了他的乡吏生涯。到了北海郡不久,郑玄又辞去吏职,入太学受业。他的老师名叫第五元先(第五是复性),是当时京兆平陵(今陕西长安)的大姓,曾任兖州刺史,是一位很有学问的经学博士。郑玄从师第五元先,先后学了《京氏易》、《公羊春秋》、《三统历》、《九章算术》等,俱达到了通晓的程度。其中《京氏易》是西汉京房写的,《公羊春秋》是战国公羊高传述、西汉初成书的,这两部书都是今文经学的重要典籍。《三统历》是西汉刘歆写的历法,《九章算术》则传说是西周周公著的,这两部书都属历数之学的重要著述。
   3、壮年去国 游学关西

   郑玄乃针对他的观点,著《发墨守》、《针膏肓》、《起废疾》以驳斥之。他认为三传各有其优缺点,《公羊》并非十全十美。何体读了郑玄的文章,也带着叹服的口气说:“康成入吾室,操吾矛,以伐我乎!” 意思是说郑玄能从他的文章中找出矛盾,用他自相矛盾的说法来驳倒他的立论。由于郑玄对何体的批驳十分有力,使经师和学者们十分惊服。据说当时京师之人称何休为“学海”,而称郑玄为“经神”,郑的声望远超过何。当时求学者不远千里投到郑玄门下者甚众,他的徒党通于天下。



(This article is an original article by Zhuge Changqing, and the pictures are selected from the Internet. Welcome to forward it, and please indicate the source for forwarding)

Introduction to Zhuge Changqing: Zhuge Changqing, the inheritor and promoter of traditional Chinese culture, is willing to "learn from sages, promote virtue, revitalize China and benefit the world" together with people with the same ideals in the world.

(Zhuge Changqing: zhuge8031@163.com )

Zhuge Changqing mailbox:


Zhuge Changqing's Chinese Dream

Learn from sages and carry forward virtue

Revitalizing China for the benefit of the world










Zhuge Changqing mailbox




学习圣贤 弘扬善德

振兴中华 造福世界




Selected Articles in Previous Periods

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1The wisdom of traditional Chinese culture changes the destiny: filial piety to parents+five in one+self-improvement


2Zhuge Changqing's Three Golden Keys to Changing Destiny

2诸葛长青改命运三把金钥匙诸葛长青施食仪轨 (十五步简洁版)

3Zhuge Changqing's Greeting Ritual (15 Steps Concise Version)

3诸葛长青施食仪轨 (十五步简洁版)

4How to repent: the ritual of repentance and the method of repentance (full version)

4   如何忏悔:忏悔仪轨忏悔方法(完整版)

5How to read the Dizang Sutra: Methods for reciting Dizang Sutra (complete version)


6How to release? The ritual of releasing life


7Zhuge Changqing's Repentance Culture: A Case Study of Repentance Methods for Changing Destiny


8Free Life Culture: Free Life Culture in Ancient China


9Shocking photo of feeding: Buddha, Bodhisattva and Dharma Protector come to the scene


10Feeding Rite Return: the return is changed to simple return




That is to say, with this merit and virtue, we should solemnly observe the Buddha's net ten. Report four blessings and save three hardships. Those who wish to see and hear,Know and send Bodhi Heart. To live in a state of bliss

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